How to use e-mail marketing post GDPR?

If like me, you use e-mail marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, you are probably worried about being able to carry on using it post GDPR. You are right to be concerned about it, as the new regulations were set specifically to stop unsolicited electronic communication of all sorts and will make it harder to use e-mails on a large scale.

The two key reasons we like to use e-mail marketing, are cost and data analysis,

  • In comparison to other methods such as direct mail, e-mail campaigns are relatively easy to set up, design and it costs a lot less.
  • If sent using a proper platform, data analysis is readily available, allowing you to get a good understanding of how relevant your recipients thought your e-mail was.

This makes e-mail marketing a key B2B strategy, which will not be easily replaced using more compliant methods.  So, the question is what you do at this stage and it’s an important question which should concern your entire marketing strategy.  However, should you decide to carry on using e-mail marketing, here are a few considerations as to how to do it in a GDPR compliant way:

  1. Be clear on whether you are marketing to businesses or consumers. This is because GDPR differentiates between corporate and individuals’ data. Here are the definitions:
  • Corporate data includes limited companies, public companies, corporates and public-sector organisations
  • Individual’s data include private individuals as well as partnerships and sole traders

This is very important to understand because under GDPR you will not be able to send e-mails to individuals unless you have their consent to do so. Corporate data however has been given some additional options for now which will be discussed below.

  1. Decide which legal framework you will be using to justify your e-mail campaigns; GDPR allows for six legal grounds for processing private data of which only three are relevant for marketing:
  • CONSENT: the individual has given clear consent for you to process their personal data for a specific purpose. If you are using individuals’ data, this is your only option.
  • LEGITIMATE INTEREST: the processing is necessary for your legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of a third party. If you are marketing with corporate data, you can use this legally, but this is not a license to spam. Here are more details on things to consider
  • CONTRACT: your list is made up of your current clients who are aware you are marketing to them and can easily opt out from the e-mails.
  1. Review your marketing list: Once you are clear on your target market, make sure you review any existing marketing databases you are using. Check for the following:
  • Any individual’s contact details you might have (such as Gmail and Yahoo e-mail addresses). This often happen if you have used contact details of LinkedIn connections for your list.
  • Any partnerships or sole traders you may have included in the database.
  • If this is a client list, ensure there is no historical data of people you have not worked with for over 18 months.
  • Consider how old is the data you are using overall as GDPR requires you to use accurate and up to date data.
  1. Make sure you are compliant with all other elements of GDPR and data protection. Marketing is only a small part of the GDPR piece. Whether you chose to carry on with e-mail marketing or not, make sure you investigate what is required in further details if you have not already done so. Here are just a few examples:
  • Check your website privacy and Cookie policies are up to date
  • Make sure you have a data protection, use and breach policy
  • Consider your data storage, back up and overall systems security

I hope you found this useful, I read the other day that only 40% of UK business are ready for GDPR and truly hope that you are. If you are doing your own e-mail marketing and looking for some support, have a look on our website or get in touch.

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